Welcome to Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge
||About halfway between Hawai‘i and American Samoa lies Palmyra Atoll. Palmyra consists of a circular string of about 50 islets nestled among several lagoons and encircled by 15,000 acres of shallow turquoise reefs and deep blue submerged reefs. It is the northernmost atoll in the Line Islands in the equatorial Pacific.
|Palmyra Atoll - Photo credit USFWS
Palmyra's history is long and colorful. Its first recorded sighting was on June 14, 1798, by Captain Edmond Fanning, and it was officially discovered in 1802 by Captain Sawle of the American ship Palmyra. In 1859, Dr. G.P. Judd of the brig Josephine took possession of the atoll for the United States and the American Guano Company. Three years later, King Kamehameha IV claimed possession for the Kingdom of Hawaii, but in 1889, Great Britian claimed the atoll. In 1898, President McKinley annexed the Territory of Hawai‘i, specifically mentioning Palmyra, to the United States, but Palmyra was excluded from the Hawai‘i State boundaries in 1959. The Refuge was established in January 2001 by the Secretary of the Interior and includes submerged lands and associated waters out to 12 nautical miles from the atoll.
On January 6, 2009, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was established, which includes Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge within its boundaries. For more information, please visit the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument website.
Susan White, Project Leader
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Pacific Reefs NWRC
300 Ala Moana Boulevard
Room 5-231, Box 50167
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96850
(808) 792-9586 fax
The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, the Pacific Reefs National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and Island Conservation have embarked upon an ambitious project to aid in the protection and restoration of the unique species and habitats of Palmyra Atoll. Palmyra Atoll is the last National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific where introduced rats still threaten native species such as seabirds and plants.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to restore and protect the native
species and habitats of Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge by eradicating all nonnative rats
(Rattus rattus) from the atoll through the successful delivery of a lethal dose of toxicant to every
rodent on the island in a manner that minimizes harm to the ecosystem while still maintaining a
high probability of success.
To view the documents for this project, click here.